Labor Department: U.S. Economy Created 312000 Jobs in December

Labor Department: U.S. Economy Created 312000 Jobs in December”

On the goods side of the economy, both manufacturing and construction saw solid gains in employment in December, with each adding over 30,000 workers to payrolls. Both were seen as more red flags that the economic expansion, now in its ninth year and the second longest on record, is losing steam.

Stocks surged on the news, along with word that the US and China will hold trade talks next week and comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the USA central bank will be flexible in judging whether to raise interest rates.

But futures soon recovered to levels they were at earlier in on Friday, after China and the United States planned for a fresh round of trade talks on January 7-8 to try and resolve their dispute.

Black Americans started the year with an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent; by November, that figure had dropped to 5.9 percent. There were also broad gains in hiring last month.

Hicks says revisions from earlier months also added 58,000 jobs in October and November.

Payrolls growth totaled 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015 and well above the 2.2 million in 2017.

Average hourly earnings rose 11 cents, or 0.4 percent, in December after gaining 0.2 percent in November. For the month, wages ticked up 0.4%.

The labor force participation rate represents the percentage of eligible workers either working or looking for work. "This jobs report will signal to the Federal Reserve that continued monetary tightening is appropriate, and that the US labor market remains a bright spot in an otherwise troubled economic environment".

The slightly higher jobless rate shouldn't ring alarm bells, said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, an global consulting firm. The fresh signal that although Wall Street may be ailing the real economy is chugging along was sure to delight Trump. Powell is due to appear on a panel with his two predecessors about two hours after the report's release. The president's attacks on the Fed and Powell over the central bank's interest rate increases have also anxious investors.

"This is the 12th jobs report following the historic rewrite of our nation's tax code, and the trend remains the same: strong growth for America", the House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady said.

US financial markets are projecting no rate hikes in 2019. Health care alone accounted for more than 50,000 new jobs in December, while the construction and manufacturing sectors added to healthy gains in 2018.

The positive jobs report was welcome news to Americans concerned about more interest rate hikes, the Trump administration's trade war with China, the government shutdown and a slowing global economy.

Index: jobs level in January 2000 set = 100.0, both series; jobs level in each following month expressed relative to January 2000. This marks the eighth consecutive month with positive job growth and puts trucking employment 2.5% higher than at this point past year.

Paychecks grew as employers raised wages to attract new workers. The plunge in the stock market, combined with weakening manufacturing readings and concerns over the trade dispute with China, led some to believe that a recession is around the corner in 2019.

The big unknown is the partial federal government shutdown.

Several sectors saw a pickup in hiring. Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry increased by 306,000 jobs. Restaurants and drinking placed posted a net gain of 40,700 jobs.

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